After winning a race, Speed Racer jumps out of his car while it's still moving and strikes a pose. This scene replicates the trademark pose of Speed Racer in the opening credits of Speed Racer (1967).
Peter Fernandez and Corinne Orr, the original English voices of Speed Racer/Racer X and Trixie/Spritle in Speed Racer (1967), voice race announcers in the film.
This is the first time the Wachowskis have filmed a movie in high-definition (HD) film. With this format, they could utilize a layering approach that gave equal clarity to the foreground and background of each scene in the film, creating the appearance of real-life anime.
While the racecars are totally fictional, most of the pedestrian cars are actually based on real-life futuristic concept cars (one can easily spot an orange Rinspeed E-GO Rocket parked at the nearest to the screen when Rex picks Speed up from school). At one point, two Peugeot concept cars (the award-winning Peugeot 4002 Lion design and the quirky Moonster) are seen as well.
A working Mach 5 was built for the film, along with several other full size cars, including Racer X's Shooting Star. All driving scenes were filmed with the actors sitting in a gimbal, a race car cockpit with a computer-programmed hydraulic system.
Emile Hirsch was a big fan of the Speed Racer (1967) show, and used to watch it on Cartoon Network.
According to producer Joel Silver, this movie was largely shot in greenscreen in 60 days.
To prepare for his role, Emile Hirsch watched every episode of Speed Racer (1967), and paid a visit to Lowe's Motor Speedway, where he met and got advice from racecar driver Jimmie Johnson.
The Mach 5 from Speed Racer (1967) had buttons on the steering wheel which produced different devices to help the car race, one was buzz saw blades which could cut trees down, one was a bubble to close the drivers compartment and run underwater, with a periscope, one was for a traction device to wrap around the tires to get grip in muddy areas, one was a homing pigeon, one was for jumping over objects, they would come out the bottom shooting the car into the air and also helped land. The last device was "wings" which came out the side to help fly over large chasms.
A possible sequel was hinted at by Christina Ricci; she stated, "When we [the cast] were all leaving, we were like, 'write the sequel! We want to come back!' And they [the Wachowskis] were like, 'I know. I know. We're going to, don't worry.'"
The film was a first in many technical areas, but two stand-out: it was the first film to employ the Sony F23 digital film camera and also to record in parallel to Sony HDCAM SR for archive masters; and the first to employ Codex digital data recorders for on-set uncompressed HD playback, digital dailies and file generation for editing and VFX.
WILHELM SCREAM: When Spritle and Chim-Chim are rummaging through Royalton Industries.
Japanese voice artists Katsuji Mori, Kiyoshi Kobayashi and Kenji Utsumi voiced Ben Burns, Mr Togokahn and Pops Racer in the Japanese dub of the film. These three all worked in the original Speed Racer (1967) series: Mori in particular voiced the title character.
In one scene, "Spritle" wears monkey faced pajamas, while "Chim Chim" wears little boy faced pajamas.
The last movie where the Wachowski siblings are credited as The Wachowski Brothers.
In the first race, where Speed is in the criss-crossing section with Rex Racer's "ghost car," their motion resembles the fighter plane attack maneuver called the "Thach Weave," invented by U.S. Navy pilot John S. Thach in World War II.
Mr Royalton says his drivers need to be able to cope with speeds up to 4G. Theoretically a Merry-go-round can generate that.
In a number of scenes, the "bokeh" (circular/oval out-of-focus points of light) are seen in different shapes: in Royalton's club they are diamonds in a number of the race scenes they are squares or rectangles. and when young Speed sees young Trixie for the first time and when they kiss at the end of the film they are hearts.
Michael Giacchino used musical cues from Speed Racer (1967) when he composed the score.
Though the Mach 5 and Mach 6 are both white, the Mach 4 is traditionally shown as a red vehicle.
Shia LaBeouf, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zac Efron were considered for the role of Speed Racer. LaBeouf had previously done Transformers (2007), and Gordon-Levitt went on to do G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) - two more films adapted from a cartoon series.
Christina Ricci admitted she never watched an episode of the original anime prior to being cast as Trixie.
Trixie's pink helicopter, Snake Oiler, and his number 12 race car, Prince Kabalah and his number 13 race car, Racer X and his number 9 race car, the GRX race car, the red semi known as the Mammoth Car, race fixer Cruncher Block and police detective "Inspector Detector" all appeared in Speed Racer (1967).
Racecar driver Danica Patrick was reportedly offered a cameo, but had to decline due to racing commitments with Andretti Green Racing and the Indy Racing League.
The film features cameo appearances from Speed Racer (1967): the Shooting Star, car number 9, is driven by Racer X Prince Kabalah, from Kapetapek, drives an unnumbered car the GRX, a high powered race car the Mammoth Car, a huge red truck and Snake Oiler, drives car number 12 in the film
During its production, animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) made allegations of animal cruelty against the film.
A different version of the Mach 6 appeared in the television sequel cartoon Speed Racer: The Next Generation (2008).
Chim Chim, who was a chimpanzee on Speed Racer (1967), was played by two bonobos, named "Willy" and "Kenzie"
In June 2004 Vince Vaughn was going to produce the film and star as Racer X. However, production never became fully active, so he left the film.
The "Mach" series vehicles are designed, built, and stored in the "Racer" family's garage, just as they were in Speed Racer (1967).
"Racer X" wears a black suit with a black mask in the movie, but wore a white suit with a black mask in Speed Racer (1967).
The Racer family had built six different race cars. They were the Mach 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Only 4, 5, and 6 were shown in the film.
Arin Hanson of Game Grumps and Starbomb fame considers this to be his favorite movie.
The sub machine gun the gangster is is holding Sparky at gunpoint during the mountain fight scene is a world war 2 era "grease gun". The grease gun was given to new recruits instead of the more expensive but sublime Thompson sub machine gun. It was known to be reliable but extremely cheap and slow firing making it an interesting choice for a gangster in a futureistic universe.
At one point Julien Temple was attached to direct with Johnny Depp starring as Speed. Both dropped out of the film due to delays in production and personal issues.
At one point during the film's early development in the 1990s, Nicolas Cage was offered the role of Racer X.
Despite playing the main villain, Roger Allam is nowhere to be found on the poster cast list.
In a flashback, a "Ben Burns" poster can be seen in the bedroom of "Young Speed Racer"
The main villain Royalton, RacerX's girlfriend Minx, the Mach 4 and the Mach 6 race cars and race car champion Cannonball Taylor did not appear in Speed Racer (1967).
During the Fuji race when other drivers are trying to attack Speed, a brief shot of his rear view display shows the warning: "Objects on screen are closer than they appear." This mirrors a similar shot from Jurassic Park (1993) where the car is being chased by a T-rex.
When the project was first set up at Warner Bros., Richard Donner and Lauren Shuler Donner were originally set to produce alongside Joel Silver.
Spritle and Chim Chim are obsessed with candy and food, just as they were in Speed Racer (1967).
Gus Van Sant was considered to direct after Julien Temple dropped out of the project in 1995.
In September 2000, Hype Williams was briefly hired to direct the film and writers Christian Gudegast and Paul Scheuring were hired to write the script. They left when the production failed to materialize.